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Bebop Spoken There

Louie Bellson: "When I have to play alongside Buddy[Rich] I have to pull out all the stops, because he plays for keeps all the time--which I think a player should do." - (Crescendo February 1976).

Robin Eubanks: “It was a wonderful time in my life [playing in a funk band], for sure. Having girls scream at you when you’re 15 or 16 was kinda cool.” – (Jazz Times October 2014).

Bebop Spoken There Archives.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Marshall Walker R.I.P.

(Sunday)I've just received the very sad news that my friend and former musical colleague, drummer Marshall Walker, died on Friday July 24. Cause of death is, as yet, unknown.
More details when known.
Sadly missed.
Lance.
(Thursday)The funeral will take place at noon on Monday August 3 at Birtley Crematorium. A formal announcement will be made in tonight's (Thursday) Evening Chronicle.
Photos - I've added a few. If you have more please send them to me via Email (lanceliddle@gmail.com.)
Add your personal tributes to the comments below.

Herbie Rides Again. New venue for Maine Street Jazzmen

The Maine Street Jazzmen, led by trombonist Herbie Hudson, start what they optimistically hope will be a regular Wednesday lunchtime session at the LAMBTON ARMS, Eighton Banks, Gateshead. Stomping off at 1:00 pm until 3:00 pm. This brings the north-east's lunchtime sessions to around seven spread over the week plus, of course, the summer park gigs and the jazz workshops. No need to miss your much needed beauty sleep if you're an ageing jazzer - unless you're wanting your fix on a Thursday or a Saturday lunchtime.
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A very important all-dayer takes place at Stockton's Georgian Theatre this Sunday with the Milestones Jazz Club & Stockton Fringe Festival.
12:00 noon: Alter Ego/1:00 Zoe Gilby/2:00 Miles Ahead/ 3:00 Saxophonics/ 4:00 Spelk/ 5:00 Nick Pride/ 6:00 Splinter/ 7:15 Extreme Measure/ 8:15 Funk Regulators.
A truly mouth-watering event.
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Extreme Measures can also be heard on Tuesday evening at The Cluny in a Maggie's Cancer Charity Event.
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Lance

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Chamber Jazz @ Blaydon - The Roly Veitch Trio

Roly Veitch (gtr/vcl), Noel Dennis (tpt), Neil Harland (bs).
Noel Dennis's trumpet playing has been justifiably compared to Chet Baker and early Miles Davis. Dressed in casual smart he looked every bit as much the cool dude as his alter ego's did in their youth. With this in mind it came as something of a culture shock to overhear him talking about 11 o' clock feeds for his baby boy.
Noel, dudes don't do that!
However, his image was given a get out of jail card when he started playing - this was Chet, Miles and a few more. Blowing his new Geneva Trumpet - made on Teesside - or was it a Teesside Trumpet made in Geneva? Whatever, the horn sounded good from the moment he blew an obbligato to Roly's vocal on "I'm Old Fashioned" to the plaintive wail on the final "Wee Small Hours of the Morning". Can't recall him sounding better.
This was an evening of sheer delight as gems were plucked from the Gasbook and given the trio's authoritive stamp many with vocals by Roly. His is an infectious voice, you hold your breath and wonder if he's going to make that top note - he always does.
Just look at some of the titles; "Days of Wine & Roses", "I've Got a Date With an Angel", "Stella By Starlight", "You Don't Know What Love Is", "Blue Monk" and "Bye Bye Blackbird" - the latter two dedicated to Marshall who, of course played in the early days with Roly at the Black Bull. Our boy's memory is everywhere this week and rightly so.
The second set opened with "You're a Lucky Guy" which Roly kindly played and sang for me totally unprompted. He knows my feelings about this tune - simply love it.
There were more goodies to follow. "Alone Together", "This Year's Kisses", "I Wished on the Moon" (another big fave), "My Funny Valentine" - more excellence from Noel - and penultimately "Now's The Time".
I've mentioned Noel and Roly, who used both acoustic and semi acoustic to great effect, but I must also applaud Neil who soloed tastefully and kept the whole thing together beautifully.
A decent sized crowd too.
Y'all get there for the next one on August 20 - this time with Paul Edis on piano and in the main auditoreum.
Lance.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Chilli Jam

Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Darren Grainger (ten), Barry Ashcroft (pno), Mick Danby (bs), Eric Stutt (dms). + Harley Johnson (pno), Solly Bashiri (dms), Peggy ? (vcl), Lance Liddle (ten).
Some delicate quartet numbers kicking off with "Alone Together" and inc. "Green Dolphin St." and "Au Privave" before a newcomer, Peggy - second name not given - sang "Nice Work If You Can Get It" and "The Girl from Ipanema." Look forward to hearing her again.
Darren arrived to fill out the front line and solo powerfully on Horace Silver's "Song For My Father" as well as the MJQ classic, "Django". Dave also blew some nice lines.
After the break the jam session saw Solly B on drums, Harley J on piano and a strolling player called Lance on tenor.
Numbers included "Blue Bossa", "Watermelon Man", "Beautiful Love", "Moanin'" and "Blue Monk" - the atonal possibilities of the latter tune were explored, not necessarily by intention. The infusion of a double tempo explosion by Eric and Harley gave it a lift. This was Harley Johnson in Harley Davidson mode (sorry Harley but it had to come!)
Throughout the set Darren blew 'bootifully' with Mick sound as a pound on bass.
Dave , of course, was his inimitable self both singing and playing. "Close Your Eyes" à la Arthur Prysock put him ahead of the game.
Interesting night.
Lance.

The Jazz Esquires @ The Porthole.

Mick Hill Trumpet/Flugel, Doug Turner Tenor Sax, Laurie Brown Drums, Roy Gibson Keyboard, Stan Nicholson, Bass Guitar. Another swinging afternoon session at the Porthole for a small but appreciative audience, Mick Hill driving things along with Doug Turner dovetailing perfectly. Today was the debut with the Esquires of Stan Nicholson (late of The Silver Dollars) on bass guitar, anchoring the rhythm section firmly and contributing some good solos. Roy Gibson & Laurie Brown performing as usual with verve and elan. (no they're not dancers.) There was the usual varied programme from "Breezin' Along With The Breeze" to "Yardbird Suite". High spots included a mid tempo "Mood Indigo", a breakneck "Blue Bossa" and two Basie swingers "Doggin' Around" and "9-20 Special." Interval music from George Laing, songs from Teresa, and Colin Johnson sat in on keyboard with the band in the second half. The music never stops at the Porthole all we were short of was a strolling player called Lance Liddle to join the party. Miles

George Russell - Please don't take my sunshine away! by George Milburn

I heard the news on Tuesday, put on The African Game loud, and opened the holy book: The Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization for Improvisation* by George Russell, which I paid 30 quid for at Bracknell Jazz Festival in 1987 - aye, they saw me coming! George gave a talk there on his compositional concepts, along with the most amazing anecdotes featuring the Who's Who of Jazz, before taking to the stage that evening with his 'super-group' Living Time Orchestra, to play a specially arranged version of The African Game. Looking at this, around 28 strong orchestra, bathed in Saturnian light variations in tiers on stage, reminded me of the Sergeant Pepper album sleeve - "Isn't that Albert Mangellsdorf ? aye and Ashley Slater poking Evan Parker in the back with his haddaway comeback - but it's OK, Andy Sheppard's circular breathing on him, and Chris Biscoe's looking stern....." Dream jazz I-Spy! They say George had Alzheimer's disease which, by 86, could be the fate of many of us ; but, I hope it's only family and friends who's faces I forget and not which note is which on the piano keyboard! Miles is reported to have joked with George, "F should be where middle C is on the piano" All for the modal love of lydian! The Guardian obituary, which Lance has usefully linked below, lists the key jazz innovators and albums influenced by George - Bill Evans, Miles' Kind of Blue, Coltrane, Dolphy, Sun Ra. Then later, in 78, along came the groundbreaking Ralph Towner's Solstice, where George's spirit cycles around again in the playing of Jan Garbarek, Jon Christensen, Eberhard Weber - fantastic stuff that hints at life's eternal nature of birth and rebirth. Meanwhile, on a sultry evening in Bracknell, an African Dawn is miraculously breaking on stage: George has added a haunting waking sequence with each player improvising their element of a huge shimmering sunrise over the Serengeti plain - brilliant! Standing facing us at the grand piano keyboard, George raises his hand to count in the score, fingers I, II, III, then startlingly disappears as he misses his piano stool and hits the stage ; unperturbed, the players take off without a driver, a stage manager rushes forward and lifts George beneath his armpits back onto the stool ; no more is said as we sit transfixed by The African Game. So now we can look forward to some wonderful moments of jazz documentary, probably on BBC 4, as George's friends, ex pupils, composers and professors of music take us through the elements of this great man's life. Not forgetting that lovely live interview with Sheila Jordan at The Sage on Radio 3: she warmly describes how she and George became lovers in the early 60's and he was taken home to meet the family. Her Gran's favourite song was top of the set as George took to the piano to back Sheila singing You are my Sunshine, in his own inimitable style; if you've heard the later recording on George's The Outer View, you'll appreciate why we can only imagine granny's face as she pushed him off the stool, "This is how it goes man!" So at last now, after 22 years, I can open the *LCC (as his concept became known) safe in the knowledge that it's a classic and its author is safely tucked up in Third Stream heaven, asking all who knew or knew of him, "Please don't take my sunshine away!" George, (not Russell !!)

George Russell R.I.P.

One of the most imaginative and, at times controversial, composers and arrangers, George Russell died aged 86 on July 27. Click here for Guardian Obit. Thanks to LondonJazz for bringing the news to my notice. Always worth checking LJ out for a view of the bigger picture. Lance.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Brandon Allen Quintet @ The Cluny.

Brandon Allen (ten/alt), Chris Allard (gtr), Ross Stanley (kybd), Oli Hayhurst (bs), Nick Smalley (dms).
The Cluny tonight was hot, the air conditioning non existant and the pre-performance CD arguably the worst CD I have ever heard. Don't ask me what it was just make sure that I never hear it again (I did of course - during the interval).
However, these minor inconveniences disappeared when the Brandon Allen Quintet were launched into orbit.
Playing mainly originals by the leaderman, this was straight down the middle, yet at the same time ultra contemporary, modern jazz that pulled from the first chorus.
Allen is blisteringly fast and his tenor came over as forceful and strident, so much so that Russell, sitting at the back of the hall, found it almost overpowered the guitar. Upfront there wasn't a problem. Allen had one alto feature and he proved equally facile on that instrument too.
Chris Allard, a self-effacing young man, turned in some punchy solos and the guitar/tenor frontline, sometimes in unison othertimes in harmony, were an effective combination.
Bass and drums did everything right as did pianist Ross Stanley.
Stanley is the man to watch. His solos simply burst with ideas and I'm sure he has a big future ahead of him.
Lance.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Marshall Remembered at Corner House

Peter Wright (tpt), Barry Soulsby (clt/alt/vcl), Lawrence McBriarty (tmb), Brian Bennett (bjo), Brian Sibbald (bs), Fred Thompson (dms/vcl).
There was a general air of melancholia about the Corner House tonight as the regulars, myself included, tried to come to terms with the passing of Marshall Walker. Marshall, who played for the Vieux Carré in the distant past was remembered with a rendition of "Just A Closer Walk With Thee." In truth, Marshall would probably have preferred a number associated with Monk or Dizzy but it was the sentiment that counted and there were one or two misty eyes around.
The band itself went about it's business as usual, "Deed I Do" with vocal by Fred proving popular although my fave was "You Took Advantage of Me" with good solos all-round.
Talking to Margaret B during the interval the conversation got around to the recent "Tyne Soundings" at the Sage. Margaret summed the 'sound sculpture' up perfectly when she said "It was so bad it will get some prestigious award."
Lance.

Update on Claude Werner Quartet

After a very successful gig at Zefferellis in Ambleside- the resident sound man liked it so much he wrote a review: "The Claude Werner Quartet is neither here for the money nor going through the motions. Played with a character and style which is easily warmed to, the set had me smirking on a few occasions, due to the uplift the band could create. Engineering in an exclusively jazz gig every Saturday at Zefferellis, I work with many high quality acts and I am very aware of the difference in attitudes that create professionalism both on and off stage. The positive mood at the soundcheck was soon shared with an audience via a lively and tastefully humorous delivery. It's no wonder many of the other players on the scene have asked my opinion of the standard of playing of this band, it suggests to me that this band is the benchmark for other serious jazz players. Rightly so...." With Mark Williams replacing Mick Wright on guitar they played Matt and Phredds in Manchester on 20th June and play at the Manchester Jazz Festival on 29th July. Nicola.
(Apologies for delay in posting Nicola but the wheel came off. Lance)

Manchester Jazz Festival. Report by Ten Pressed Men +

Just got back from 2 days volunteering at Manchester Jazz Festival. Tasks included giving out flyers in the street/programmes at gigs, carrying instruments/gear in and out, head counting ,selling CDs and getting questionnaires filled in. Perks were:- A Free T shirt (size XL!!), soft drinks, food and good companionship with the other volunteers. Saturday: Based in St Anne's Square. Good weather, no wind and an excellent sound man. With 3 bands on I only got to listen to some of it.
Day One Program. Gerry Richardson's band kicked it all off in style (see photo). All copies of their 3 different CDs sold out even before they finished their set. What a wonderful surprise it was to find Don Fairly on trombone giving it some "real welly". The man is such a great all-rounder. The last time I heard him play was at our New Century Ragtime Orc. gig at Newbiggin. We have Don's own band booked for Ashington latter in the year playing in yet another era. All three bands had bari sax players but I think Sue was the only female musician in all 3 bands ------------------------------------------------------------- Sunday:Bridgewater Hall. The concert was in the foyer/bar area with about 100 seats and another 400 punters standing/leaning or lying on the floor' These 3 gigs were sponsored by Jazz Services. I met the London based Director of Jazz Services Chris Hodgkins and a Greek lady who looks after the listing and magazines etc. Chris said he comes to Whitley Bay a lot (I think his wife has a place there) Anyway he seemed to know everyone including Chris Yates, Mike Durham etc. Day 2 Program. The highlight of Sunday was the Ryan Quigley band - with Paul Booth and Brian Kellock. A lady travelling with the band was non other than Cathy Rae, daughter of the legend Scottish bass player Ronnie Rae. She said she was relaxing now after running a very successful Glasgow Jazz Festival.
John Taylor.

Discs to die for from Tom Shearer

I run a (rather more occasional than it's meant to be) jazz blog in Glasgow, Byas'd Opinion. I thought you might like my list of 5 discs to die for. I'd probably come up with a different five if you asked me tomorrow, or if I was allowed to include ones which are already in your list, but for what it's worth, here they are: Harry Edison, Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You? Brian Kellock, Live at Henry's David Murray, Morning Song William Parker Quartet with Leena Conquest, Raining on the Moon Sonny Rollins, The Bridge These aren't picked because I think they're the most important albums ever, they're simply ones I listen to a lot and get a great deal of pleasure from whenever I hear them. Hope this is of some interest to you, Tom Shearer Complete list to date.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Gerry Mulligan Concert Band - "Live at the Village Vanguard."

Listening to the Gerry Mulligan Concert Band live at the Village Vanguard (1960). It's on Spotify and is one of the best big(gish) band records around.
"Blueport" is an absolute hoot with Clark Terry at his impish best and Mulligan playing modern Dixieland if you know what I mean.
Johnny Mandel's "Black Nightgown" is another beauty that is always worth hearing again (Brings up a picture of Susan Hayward in the film "I Want To Live").
Superb session.
Lance.

Friday, July 24, 2009

United Breaks Guitars

I guess a lot of people would sympathize with this guy’s predicament. Musician Dave Carroll was unfortunate enough to witness his $3,500 guitar being damaged by some careless United Airlines baggage handlers. To make matters worse, the airline refused to compensate him for the damage. After several frustrating months, Dave hit back the only way he could – by writing songs and making videos about his bad experience. So, here is Dave and his band performing “United Breaks Guitars”: Dave has promised to release two more songs in quick succession Hil. Published July 8th, 2009 in Music. Tags: Dave Carroll,Guitars,United Airlines.

Madeleine Peyroux

For those whose tastes lean towards the classier vocalists there is a program on Madeleine Peyroux on BBC 4 tonight at 10:30 and repeated later in the evening/morning.
Should be worth switching on the telly for.
Lance.
Later...
(There were actually two programmes)
The first program began really well as Madeleine and her mother described their early days living in Paris - they'd moved to France when Madeleine was 13. Talking of nights spent busking in the Latin Quarter or on the Paris Metro you could almost inhale the smoke from a discarded Gauloise or taste the dregs of a bottle of Absinthe. Great stuff.
Afterwards, the setting changed to the States and it became a bit more show businessy. We didn't get any real insight into her disappearances and unpredictable behaviour. Nevertheless, it is worth watching - it's on BBC iplayer.
The second program is a live concert in L.A. that I'm listening to as I type. I'm beginning to notice how samey everything is. A change of tempo would help but somehow, each tune sounds like the one before.
Having said that, it is still very pleasant and - damn! I've accidentally switched off the iplayer! I'll hear the rest tomorrow - or will I? I think I know what it will be like.
Lance.

Tyne Soundings Live @ The Sage. Thursday 23rd July. 7.00.p.m. Performance.

Bill Fontana (Apple Mac), Tim Garland (bass clarinet, flute & soprano saxophone), Asaf Sirkis (percussion). Tim Garland explained, in a post-performance Q&A, that Tyne Soundings Live was in sevenths (determined by the intervals of the north east coastal fog horns) in the key of E. To the non-musicians present in the audience I'm not sure if this would have been helpful information pre-performance. Garland indicated that these parameters made it an interesting proposition for improvising musicians. Listening to the piece - the duration of this early evening performance being approximately thirty minutes - it occured to these ears that the instrumental input was limited; Garland keen to interject, impose, Asaf Sirkis unusually hesitant, seemingly reluctant to break the silence. Bill Fontana's work was contemplative ( some might say soporific). The dominant sound was that of the horns - Tyne North Pier and Souter Lighthouse. Sound sculptor Bill Fontana is a resident of San Francisco - the Bay Area foghorns have obvious parallels with those on the north east coast of England. The live 'soundings' were integral to the performance; Fontana, gazing intently at the screen of his Apple Mac, introduced sounds and moderated the perforrmance. The visual element (a two-screen backdrop), added to the stillness of the piece. The kittiwakes nesting on the North Tower of the Tyne Bridge were oblivious to the goings-on (the bridge contributed to the sound-scape) and the Tyne Pedestrian Tunnel was shown in a loop montage of images with scarcely audible sounds of the moving escalators. One or two jazzers were present at the performance. It is to be hoped that they appreciated the multi-disciplinary aspect of the event because the jazz content, not unexpectedly, was minimal at best. Russell

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tyne Soundings Live - The 9:00 performance.

Bill Fontana (laptop), Tim Garland (flt/bs.clt/sop.), Asif Sirkis (perc).
If you enlarge and read the blurb to the left you'll get the picture of what it is all about (hopefully) - I was there and I still don't know what it was all about. Mind you the fact that I kept nodding off to sleep didn't help my understanding although it did speak gallons for the soporific qualities of the event. (Do gallons speak?)
Russell attended the earlier performance and, if he stayed awake, will no doubt have some succinct comments to make. Sage Supremo Ros Rigsby did say the two performances were totally different.
In fairness, Tim Garland did blow some interesting snatches - how could he fail? This was a licence to blow pure and simple albeit in the most restrained way possible. Likewise Asif Sirkis; he produced some strange eastern sounds from his exotic percussion kit.
At least it was free although I think I may have been better off paying £7 to hear the Hallé in Hall One. Tchaikovsky's "Sleeping Beauty" was on the program.
Lance.

Rik Walton's Two Kinds of Music - Washington Arts Centre

This was a special preview event of Rik's current photo exhibition with a jazz, folk and roots theme.
There isn't a disappointing image among them with my personal favourite being his take on the late George Melly.
I don't think anyone has quite photographed the flamboyant Melly at his sartorial best the way Rik has - it is an outstanding portrait that captures the man to perfection.
Others include Humph, Dick Morrissey, Don Weller (another stunning image), Abdullah Ibraham plus a further 27 some of whose names were unfamiliar to me yet, nevertheless, didn't detract from the images.
My only complaint, I wished there had been more of them.
As I was due at The Sage I couldn't hang around too long and thus missed out on the wine. However, I didn't miss out on Germaine (Stanger) looking radiant and refreshed after holidaying in Cornwall - the icing on the cake.
The event runs until Sept 19 so boogie on down. Lot's of real ale in the Arts Centre Bar.
Lance.

"The Majesties of the Blues" - Ellington/Marsalis tribute coming up at the Spice of Life

Anna Lacy, York's number one jazz impresario and Facebook Friend, has drew my attention to a gig at London's "Spice of Life" pub just off Charing Cross Rd.
"The Majesties of the Blues" is a tribute to Wynton Marsalis and Duke Ellington and features Abram Wilson, Jason Yarde, Denys Baptiste, and members of Wilson's new quartet. It's on August 20 start 8:00 pm.
Having had an enjoyable evening at the venue earlier this month I can recommend it as a nice intimate setting and well worth a visit for those in the area on that date.
Thanks Anna, I'm hoping to get to one of your gigs at the BLACK SWAN (not the White Swan as I inadvertantly entered originally) sometime in the not too distant future. Lance.

It sure wasn't no pickpocket...

The word on Facebook is that John Pope had his double bass stolen but that the instrument and its owner have been re-united. What's the lowdown on this dastardly deed John?
Lance.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Take It To The Bridge & Friends @ The Chilli.

Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Darren Grainger, Paul Gowland (ten), Barry Ashcroft/Harley Johnson (pno). Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt/Solly Bashiri (dms/vcl(Solly)). D.N.B. Lance Liddle.
After last week's crowd, this week was, by comparision, relatively quiet. However, it was not without some excellent performances all-round.
Dave played his usual dependable horn and sang "Like Someone In Love" and "Never Let Me Go".
In the second set Harley sat in and played some superb Monkian piano on "Straight No Chaser".
As well as sitting in on drums, Solly also sang Van Morrison's "Moon Dance". Solly wasn't happy with the key but it sounded okay to me.
Paul Gowland, normally plays alto but tonight he was on tenor and he blew up a storm - I left my horn in the case!
Mention must be made of Barry who, after Harley's stint came back and re-quoted Harley's quote from "Blue Monk" just to let everyone know he'd been digging it.
Jim, Eric and Darren all had their moments and it was a good night.
Lance. Photos.

Press Release from John Taylor ASHINGTON JAZZ CLUB

Encouraged by an ever growing membership Ashington Jazz Club is continuing with it monthly sessions at the Elephant in Ashington. The next performance is by an exciting new young band “The Pimptones” who are based in Newcastle. They are the brainchild of Nick Pride, a jazz guitarist with a passion for all styles of music. The band's super-tight sound came the old fashioned way - from constant gigging, jamming, rehearsing and refining. After playing at the Gateshead International Jazz Festival, the group’s reputation has grown since its birth in 2007. Formed with drummer Oz Cassidy from Nick Pride's previous band Rubberneck these musicians also perform with Voice of The North Jazz Orchestra and Andy Champion. Monthly residencies include The Gala Theatre in Durham and As You Like It in Jesmond. April 2009 saw the quintet's debut album release. - "It's The Pimptones" is on Jazz Girl Records. This is a collection of original tunes penned by Nick and performed by some of the region’s best players. Nick, on guitar and vocals, is joined by Ian Paterson on bass, Oz Cassidy on drums, Dave Wilde on sax and flute and Alex Leathard on trombone. Nick, 34, plays every Saturday at the Durham Gala Theatre. He and Ian also feature in the North East ‘supergroup’ Sharks Took the Rest – a band that impressed during their headlining slot at The Journal Culture Awards. “It’s quite easy to put a band together when all of your best mates are really good musicians,” says Nick. Their new album was launched at the Head of Steam venue in Newcastle City Centre. Nick called on the talent of local singer Laurie Shepherd to do a track that actually started life as an instrumental. The CD “It’s the Pimptones” is available from selected outlets in the North East. The band will tour Scotland in August. Nick Pride and the Pimptones with guest vocalist Laurie Shepherd are at Ashington Jazz Club at the Elephant on August 5th 2009 at 8.30 pm. John Taylor.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

USA Vintage Programmes

Colin Aitchison, our man in Hong Kong, has kindly sent me some American band programmes from the 1930s/'40s. Benny Goodman, Woody Herman, Horace Heidt, and Johnny Scatman Davis.
Click here to view along with other posters and programmes from closer to home.
Lance.

Listen to this

Gilad Atzmon with Strings contains some of the most lyrical alto playing since Bird recorded with strings. Lance.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Heritage Hall Stompers @ Central Park (Gosforth).

Gavin Lee (clt), ? (tpt), Terry Harvey? (bjo), ? (dms). Never having resided in Gosforth directions had to be asked. Now, ask anyone how to get to Central Park and they are going to say, "Take the Subway to Columbus Circle or 59th Street." This didn't actually happen to me when I posed the question to a Gosforth resident but it would have done had the positions been reversed.
As it happened, the question became academic as I could hear, in the distance, a trumpet calling the chillun' home to the strains of "Alexander's Ragtime Band."
As a four piece, the Heritage Hall were a few stompers short of les tout ensemble I was expecting but, nevertheless, the musicians played an entertaining, foottapping program with such old standbyes as "Basin Street Blues", "Big Butter and Egg Man", "Darktown Strutters Ball" and "Sentimental Journey" to name but a few.
Gavin Lee sounded not unlike Irving Fazola and, with his braces stretched somewhat across his midriff, even bore a resemblance to the old New Orleans master.
The trumpet player had some tasty moments whilst banjo and drums handled the responsibilities of a bassless rhythm section admirably.
Eating icecream and listening to jazz on a hot summer's day has much to recommend it.
Lance.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Good Rockin' Tonight - Mo Scott Band @ The Magnesia Bank, North Shields.

Mo Scott (vcl), Rod Sinclair (gtr), Frankie Gibbon (bs), Rob Walker (dms).
Could one ask for a better night? Front row table in the company of those Fabulous Gilby Girls (Hil & Zoe), a packed house and the Mo Scott band almost rocking the 'Maggy Bank' right into the River Tyne below.
Mo was in magnificent voice hollering all the good old good ones from "Hound Dog" (nothing like Elvis I'm pleased to say) via Chuck Berry's "Teenage Wedding", Louis Jordan's "Let The Good Times Roll" "Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby?", "Fever" and a host of other 12 bars that straddled the narrow border between blues and rock 'n' roll.
On guitar, Rod was an electric storm that lit up the night. In particular, his slide/bottleneck thrashes had the adrenalin circulating dangerously fast whilst on the slows his night owling screamed tales of heartache and sorrow in Bb or thereabouts.
Frankie Gibbon had never played with the band before tonight but it didn't show. When Mo stepped down to re-charge, the stringmen changed gear for a Cream-like trio blast.
Behind it all, the inscrutable Rob Walker laid it down solid and decisive. This was as good as it gets in the blues world.
Lance.
Afterthoughts: Russell should have been here tonight - seven real ales to choose from.
Zoe's engagement ring - very classy.
Zoe's next engagement - Harrogate Jazz Club on Tuesday.

Discs to Die For from Peter Hopkins.

I am a member of both Gateshead and Bishop Auckland jazz societies BA society meet in the Ship Inn Middlestone Village nr B.A. on alternate Wednesdays 8pm.Real Ale and good food if wanted. Friendly group meet for theme nights, record recitals news and gossip Contact Ron Applegarth 01325 464334. My 5 discs to die for? I' m willing to bet my first two will not be on anyone's list but I think James Morrson is a genius.. Check out his videos on you tube 1 James Morrison/Ray Brown - Two the Max. 2 The Hot Horn happening (Mark Nightingale, Brian Kellock Ricky Woodard, Jeff Clayton)- Live in Paris. 3 Humphrey Lyttelton - Triple Exposure. 4 Stan Tracey - Genesis. (Click here for Double Dave's review of recent live version.) 5 Erroll Garner - Concert by the Sea. Peter Hopkins
Complete list to date.

Sweet & Hot Orchestra @ The Discovery Museum, Newcastle. July 18th

John Carstairs Hallam's Sweet & Hot Orchestra: John Carstairs Hallam (string bass), Brian Chester (keyboards), ? (drums), Gavin Lee (reeds), Jim McBriarty (reeds), Alan Smith (trumpet), ? (trombone). A vintage steam roller, on loan from Beamish Museum, stood outside the Discovery Museum on this the 75th anniversary of the palace of science and engineering. Inside visitors were greeted by the vintage sweet and occasionally hot sounds of the Sweet & Hot Orchestra. Dance band and brass band were the sounds echoing round the cavernous hall housing the Turbinia. A vintage day out. Russell

Downbeat - July Edition

The July edition of Downbeat is an absolute gem. It's the mags 75th anniversary edition and contains articles and photos from past editions. Ellington, Goodman, Basie, Anita, Billie, Bird, etc. etc. to Zappa and Benny Golson. Whisper Not but that this has to be the best four quidsworth on the newstands (in Newcastle it's at Fenwicks) for the past 75 years.
Lance.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Neilsound MySpace Blog

Came across this rather fine posting from a very talented friend of mine Neil Gutteridge. MySpace.com Blogs - Neilsound MySpace Blog Shared via AddThis A complete surprise as I haven't seen Neil for a number of years. Visit the Neilsound MySpace site for some classical tuba/piano duets that are quite amazing. Lance. PS: thank you Neil for your kind words.

Issie Barratt with Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra featuring Steve Waterman @ Bishop Auckland Town Hall. July 16.

Issie Barratt (composer/conductor), John Warren (composer/conductor), Steve Waterman (trumpet) with Voice of the North Jazz Orchestra: Paul Edis (keyboards), Andy Champion (double bass & electric bass), Adrian Tilbrook (drums), James Russell (tenor sax), Lewis Watson (tenor sax), Rod Mason (alto sax & flute), Andy Bennett (alto sax, soprano sax & clarinet), Bill Sneddon (baritone sax), Alan Bravey (bass trombone), Keith Norris (trombone), Chris Hibbard (trombone), John Millgate (trombone), Dave Connolly (trumpet), Graham Hardy (trumpet), Sean Hollis ? (trumpet), Matt Roberts (trumpet). A stroll through the grounds of Auckland Castle, a visit to Wetherspoon's Stanley Jefferson (named in honour of the great Stan Laurel) and a pint of Ferryhill Brewery's First Yard before it was time to walk across the Market Place and into the Town Hall for tonight's eagerly anticipated concert.
The north east's premier big band has worked with Ms.Barratt on more than one occasion over the last year or so and this was an opportunity to revisit some of her fiendishly difficult charts.
It was, however, the orchestra's long-time leader John Warren who got things under way with 'Park Bench Story' . A now familiar piece to north east audiences, it afforded solo space to Steve Waterman and the jovial Rod Mason, trumpet and alto respectively. Barratt took up the baton to run through 'Hold Down the Moon' from the 'Astral Pleasures' CD and tenorist Lewis Watson delivered the goods with his first solo feature.
Warren introduced a township number, 'Sanae Stomp', written to celebrate the many fine South African musicians exiled in England during the 1960s - James Russell, tenor and Andy Bennett, alto, stepped up to the plate. The first set drew to a close with an extended work from the pen of Ms.Barratt. The solo spotlight shone on altoist Rod Mason and he produced an outstanding effort. The second set began with, effectively, the Steve Waterman Quartet playing the trumpeter's own composition 'Destination Unknown', thus allowing the rest of the boys in the band extra time in the bar (or should that be 'time to compose themselves into a state of Zen-like meditation'?). The tune has become something of a party piece for this virtuoso musician with its circular-breathing coda that has to be heard to be believed (those of us fortunate to be at Waterman's small-group gig at Newcastle's Side Cafe in March were more than a little impressed on hearing it then) and tonight's rhythm section - Edis, Champion and Tilbrook - enjoyed the experience as much as the audience.
The full orchestra reassembled to perform Warren's reworking of JJ Johnson's 'Lament' and Barratt's composition 'Noneffency', the world premiere of which was heard last autumn in Stockton and made possible by being commissioned by Jazz Action. A towering work, tonight's outing featured searing solos from Watson, Waterman, Andy Champion (playing electric bass and sounding, at times, not unlike Marcus Miller and Stanley Clarke) and baritone saxophonist Bill Sneddon. Sneddon's part was compulsory, so said Barratt, she herself being a baritone saxophonist! Barratt and Warren work well together and the band more than does justice to their material - a case of 'Friends in Jazz'. Issie Barratt and John Warren have created a website devoted to promoting the work of comtemporary composers. Visit www.fuzzymoonrecords.co.uk Jazz Action, the regional jazz development agency's website is: www.jazzaction.co.uk Russell .

More 'Discs To Die For' - Angela's choice..

Horace Silver - Song for My Father - damn it, it's up already! Cannonball Adderley - Something Else - darn it, you've got it up. Dexter Gordon - Go - Damn, every time I choose one, it's there. Charlie Mingus - Blues and Roots - doh! Miles Davis - Kind of Blue - grrr argh So this is the alternate selection: Lee Morgan - Sidewinder - ha! not there, good! Eddie Jefferson - Letter from Home - love this man. It was a toss up between him and King Pleasure. Eddie won. Pat Metheny - Works - best ever from the man that turned my son into a guitarist in the womb! Lambert, Hendricks and Ross! - The Hottest New Group in Jazz - Yep, good scatting ; ) Carmen McCrae - Carmen Sings Monk - she was very old when she made this but it is a goody. Angela. Click here for latest complete list. For those who have still to submit their list the rules are: 5 discs, 1 per artist, no duplications (check with list first).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Maine Street Jazzmen @ Rosie Malone's South Shields.

Iain McCaulay (tpt/tmb/vcl), Derek Fleck (clt), Colin Haikney (pno), Alan Rudd (bs), Ollie Rillands (dms), Olive Rudd (vcl). On the face of it, Rosie Malone's Bar in South Shields and Lanercost Priory may not be spiritually close but, as they both have an affinity to jazz perhaps the only difference is that they worship different Gods. At Rosie's it is Bacchus who is in the top job and it has to be said that the music comes a distant second. Nevertheless, although some parishioners were missing from both the congregation and the choir, today the Maine Street Men gave a stalwart performance. Particularly impressive was Colin Haikney who soloed inventively although I wasn't quite sure what the synthesised electronics had to do with "Bye Bye Blackbird". Olive was in good voice and she sang really well on "I Thought About You". Good solos from Iain on trombone and Derek on clarinet. Colin too had some nice fills behind the vocal. Not an easy tune to get round. There are worse ways of spending an afternoon. Lance.

Andy Sheppard to play historic Lanercost Priory

I received the following info on this rather unusual gig which, nevertheless, sounds as if it could be a rural gem.
Situated in rural North East Cumbria alongside Hadrian’s Wall Lanercost Priory was founded in 1169 by Robert de Vaux, Lord of Gilsland, and today the nave and the north isle of the original priory serve as the parish church. Lanercost Priory hosts a successful music festival each year in June however this may be first time that a jazz artist has graced its hallowed walls. Such a magnificent building is, if not an unusual one, a perfect setting for Sheppard’s sublimely beautiful sound on soprano and tenor saxophones. The high timber arched ceiling produces a resonance to sound that will add a new dimension to the masterfully melodic and irresistible rhythmic playing that Sheppard is known for. Now one of Britain’s foremost tenor and soprano saxophonists, Andy was introduced to the music of John Coltrane at the age of nineteen and immediately went out and bought his own saxophone. A successful recording artist, bandleader and composer (for film, TV and theatre), Andy Sheppard is one of a very few British jazz artists to have made a significant international impact. He has worked with an astonishing range of musical partners and is remarkably, one of a very few soloists to have played in the big bands of all three of the greatest post-war jazz composers, Carla Bley, George Russell and Gil Evans. Local man David Gosling is organising the concert as a way to raise funds for the up keep of this much loved church and, as a keen jazz fan, thought that Andy Sheppard’s playing would be the perfect match for the priory’s acoustics. “I have heard Andy Sheppard play in many differing venues and every time he surprises me with the width of his repertoire. Whether his duets with pianists Joanna McGregor and Rita Marcotulli or his latest quintet recording Movements in Colour, his music is always fresh, well crafted and wonderfully entertaining” At Lanercost Andy will play solo and David has no doubt that those in attendance will be treated to an unforgettable experience. Local band, Hip Graffiti (Jay Myerson – guitar, Laurence Blackadder – bass and Katerina El Haj – vocals) will open the concert and are delighted to be sharing the bill with someone as esteemed as Andy Sheppard and at the same time make their own contribution to the priory funds. The concert details are: Saturday September 12th 2009, 7.30pm Lanercost Priory, Lanercost, Brampton, Cumbria Tickets £15 available from – Brampton Post Office, Omega Music, Brampton Lanercost@hotmail.co.uk 016977 41829 For more information contact: Promoter - David Gosling: 016977 41829, 07803 282876 or dgos2@aol.com.
See you there,
Lance.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Alan Glen Trio - excellent as ever.

Alan Glen (pno), David Carnegie (dms), John Pope (bs).
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Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Darren Grainger (ten), Nicola Weaver (alto), Barry Ashcroft (pno), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms), Stuart Davies (gtr). + Mark Williams (gtr), Solly Bashiri (dms), Harley Johnson (pno). Also ran: Lance Liddle (ten).
----- The monthly visit by the Alan Glen Trio saw John Pope replacing Lawrence Blackadder on bass. The new boy seemed to slot in okay. My only thought was he could possibly have been slightly louder. However, he did the business as did David Carnegie, sporting his new minimalist haircut, on drums and, of course, Alan Glen. Dave Weisser summed it up in his inimitable style when he said "There ain't a superlative superlative enough!"
Once again Alan came up with a different set - he very rarely repeats himself and tonight was no exception.
"You Don't Know What Love Is", "Billie's Bounce", The Song is You", "I Fall In Love Too Easily", "She Loves Me", "Like Someone in Love", "I Love You" - could there be a better selection? It was also Alan's birthday and Dave and everyone sang 'that tune'.
Earlier, TITTB blew a strong set opening up with "Moanin'" then Duke Pearson's "Jeannine" and a Barry Ashcroft original, "San Miguel" all with good solos all-round.
Various itinerants sat in for the jam with Harley Johnson once again impressing with some Monkian piano solos, Solly took over on drums and Mark Williams kept the pot boiling on guitar.
A lot of big hitters in the audience tonight.
Lance.

Happy Birthday John Taylor

John Taylor, who is to jazz in Ashington what Bobby Charlton was to football had his ** birthday yesterday. He celebrated it with Melody Gardot - not a bad way to celebrate even if it was only on CD.
Congrats. John - Friends in Jazz eh?
Lance.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rainy Days and Tuesdays Always Get Me Down

I'm listening to Carmell Jones and Harold Land playing "I'm Gonna Go Fishin'", one of the many Harold Land tracks on Spotify. You don't hear Jones' name mentioned these days (he died in 1996) but he was a fine Clifford Brown inspired trumpet player who deserved to be given a lot more acclaim.
Harold Land too - he was a superb tenorman in the hard blowing Hank Mobley, early Trane style.
So, if I'm enjoying the music so much why am I letting Tuesdays get me down when it isn't raining?
Simple! since the River City Jazzmen booted their Tuesday session at Jesmond into touch there is absolutely no jazz in or around Newcastle on a Tuesday night apart from the monthly Schmazz sessions at the Cluny and it does hurt - even if you don't always go to a gig it's important to know it's there for you.
Jones/Land are now playing "Full Moon and Empty Arms" and that is just how I feel tonight!
Now must surely be the time for some enterprising band to kick something off.
Don't ask me who, where, or when though!
Lance.

R.I.P Jimmy Forsythe

Jimmy Forsythe, who died aged 95 on July 11 hardly qualifies for inclusion on a jazz site even though his life probably mirrors that of an early jazz musician.
He was a photographer - not one of your David Baileys or Lord Litchfields but a man of the people who snapped life as he saw it in and around Newcastle. His stark black and white images captured his home city as few others have. Click here if you doubt me.
One of his most memorable shots was of the Royal Arcade Jazz Club which is my excuse for this obituary. Unfortunately I haven't got a copy but it is available in one of his books.
A true character, Jimmy was active almost to the end.
I'm grateful to Russell for drawing this sad news to my attention.
Lance.

A Vieux Carre Vignette @ The Corner House. July 14th

Brian Bennett (banjo), Brian Sibbald (double bass), Fred Thompson (drums), Barry Soulsby (clarinet), Peter Wright (trumpet), Laurence McBriarty (trombone). Having been detained elsewhere (not, I hasten to add, at Byker cop shop), I arrived at the Corner House in the company of Mr.P.Bream, the north east's free jazz/improv supremo, mover and shaker, Mr.Fixit blah, blah, to catch the last thirty minutes of the Vieux Carre's regular Monday night gig. The regular sextet was in full flow, restored to the function room after last week's one-off performance in the main bar. The highlight of the half hour was Ellington's 'Creole Love Call'; tight ensemble work and exquisite frontline interplay courtesy of Messers.Soulsby, Wright and McBriarty. More, much more, next week. Russell PS. I think Mr.Bream was reasonably impressed!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Zoe Gilby Quartet @The Georgian Theatre, Stockton

Zoe, vocals ; Mark Williams, guitar ; Andy Champion, double bass ; Richard Brown, drums. Well there weren't a great deal of people turned out for a choice gig like this on a Stockton Thursday. The high ceiling and high stage didn't really do anything for the intimacy either but, the black backcloth was great for photos and the echo made the generous applause sound encouraging. This set was advertised as a quintet but Noel Dennis (trumpet) couldn't make it. Nevertheless, the as-ever undaunted Zoe sang as if the place was packed. Still reeling from her birthday and flashing an unexpected present from Andy - the knee imprint is still visible on Cullercoats beach - of white gold with diamond solitaire, Zoe set off in style with two engaging numbers: Cole Porter's, "You'd be so Nice to Come Home To" and of course, turning to Andy, "I Only Have Eyes for You" - ah! Gradually feeding us the Bass & Vocals duo set for Marsden's (West Yorks) October Jazz Festival, we were treated to another of Andy's daring arrangements - "Nice Work if You can Get it", with fantastic counterpoint and harmonic high wire tricks from Zoe - no safety net - exhilarating. For a Monk fan it was great to hear her passionate delivery of Carmen McRae's ironic take on "Round Midnight" and "Get it Straight" (Straight No Chaser) - Mark really lighting the blue touch paper on the latter with some cracking, jumping jack repetitions that had me hoping (or was it hopping) that the Saltpetre would never run out! The fireworks then spread to Andy, working his fingerboard right to the edge in all respects - green, red, blue stars, falling over Stockton! More pyrotechnics, this time from drummer Richard Brown in Andy & Zoe's bossa nova arrangement of Jimmy Van Heusen's "Darn That Dream" - a good solo, considering the difficult sound bounce in such a big box of a theatre. The reverb was also difficult in "Weaver of Dreams" where brushes might have come in useful to keep with the soft lullaby feel. Then, as the Roman Candles were reduced to a glow, Mark Williams created such a deep Mississippi blues solo in "Angel Eyes" that you could feel the wash. Finally, there have been reports of scat singing being overdone - can't comment on the others, but tonight's solos were deftly delivered and gave us a chance to hear Zoe's higher pitches and trapeze like chromatic control ; anyway, someone had to stand in for Noel Dennis! This woman is a natural and should be performing to bigger houses. Take it easy Zoe, but Take it! George M.
Photos. (courtesy of Gabrielle)

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mouth of the Tyne Festival - day 2. "I Fall in Love Too Easily"

The area around the Gibralter Rock pub is alive with the sound of banjos and sousaphones as the annual invasion of tradderie takes place.
The al fresco extravaganza stomps off with Canada's Hot Five Jazzmakers who move away from the image their name projects when Janet Towers puts baritone sax to lips. The girl with the big full sound brings the instruments sonority to the fore. This is exemplified by her rendition of "You Brought a New Kind of Love to me" - poetic in its eloquence. Janet throws in a vocal on the tune and it doesn't hurt a bit.
Canada relinquishes control to Switzerland and the entertaining Yerba Buena Jazz Band who bare no resemblance to their San Fransisco names sakes from way back in the old days of the revival.
This YBJB is a medium sized big band who play much Ellington and even more washboard; 'tis fun. As a matter of embouchurial interest the lead trumpet doubles on tenor sax.
Time runs out on me so I only get to hear one number from France's Red Hot Reed-Warmers. One was enough for me to almost fall in love with Aurélie Tropez's clarinet playing. I say 'almost' as Janet got there first with her baritone! Is there such a crime as musical bigamy?
Nevertheless, to sample Aurélie's delights check her out on YouTube.
A very pleasant afternoon with only the hint of a shower.
Lance.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Jazz Orchestra in an Afternoon - The Sage, Gateshead.

Approx. line-up; 1 x clt, 3 x sop, 5 x alt, 2 x ten, 2 x bar, 2 x tpt, 1 x tmb, 1 x vln, 1 x mand, 2 x bs, 3 x gtr, 1 x dms, 2 x pno, 3 x vcls.
Given the above line-up (approx 28 + M.D. Claude Werner) 'Doc the Violin' wasn't far wrong when he said, at rehearsal, 'it's like emptying a bucket of mice and expecting them all to run in the same direction.'
Substitute musicians for mice and the analogy still stands.
The rehearsal began in the usual chaotic fashion as the conductor attempted to get the musicians into line - the starter in the Grand National has similar problems - but eventually a seating arrangement was worked out and it was game on.
Claude's composition, "Big Ben", was the afternoon's focal point and the task was simple, whip it into a listenable state by 5:00 pm ready for a concert at 6:00 pm.
Dedicated to his friend, colleague and pianist Ben Gilbert - shortly to depart for points south - such was the strength of the piece that, in truth, it was worthy of a performance by VOTNJO rather than the assembled crew of disparate players. However, one cuts ones cloth as the saying goes and it is to Claude's credit and patience that, after 3 blistering hours of rehearsal he was able to mould it into a presentable whole.
That the public performance in Hall 2 of the Sage perhaps wasn't quite as tight as the workshop session 'below stairs' where the band was set up in closer proximity of each other did nothing to detract from the day as a whole and all concerned found it an inspirational experience.
As possibly the most disparate of the 'disparate players' I say 'Thank you Claude and good luck Ben.' More here from 'Double Dave'.
Lance.
PS: In the jam that followed Claude proved that he is more than just a compositional master but also a superb tenor sax and no mean pianist.

Cool Cat Blues @ Morden Tower. July 10th.

Frank Reeve (creator/reader), John Lake (keyboards & percussion), Phil Paton (keyboards & reeds). Morden Tower, secreted into the medieval West Walls of the old city of Newcastle upon Tyne, is a hidden gem. The intimate tower is approached via a cobbled back lane off China Town. On a dark winter's night one could well stumble upon a witches' coven but this was a mid-summer's evening and it was the spirit of poets past walking the walls as the cool cats listened, intently, then momentarily distracted, then focussing once more on the words and music of Frank Reeve and friends. Reeve, a tall, seemingly intense, yet genial American sat in front of the cats and read.
'The Blue Cat Walks the Earth' is Reeve's third volume of poems about a cat and things...the politics of being a cat, a knowing cat. Rhythm and meter, jazz rhythm and meter were to the fore. Our cat, at times, wasn't word perfect; it didn't matter, he was a jazz cat. 'The Apology' and 'May Day in Moscow' were but two of many 'jazz' poems - Brighton based John Lake and Phil Paton, multi-instrumentalists both, played cool cat blues - to be heard this night on West Walls. A diversion, a hoedown - 'The Blue Cat Calls a Country Dance' - was a delight; Reeve, Lake and Paton got it just right. An evening of jazz 'n' blues, of New Orleans, Steinbeck, the Dust Bowl, of the stevedore on New York's docks, of solidarity. 'The Blue Cat Walks the Earth' by FD Reeve is published by Smokestack Books www.smokestack-books.co.uk ISBN: 978-0-9560431-0-6. £8.95. (inc.CD). The CD features American musicians Don Davis (sax) & Joe Deleault (piano). Frank Reeve's website: www.fdreeve.org . Morden Tower's website: www.mordentower.org . John Lake and Phil Paton should take a well-deserved bow. They met up with Reeve the day before the Morden Tower performance. Their contribution was as if they were long-time associates of Reeve. Cool, cats. Russell .
(Thanks Russell, your words captured the evening much better than my pedantic prose could have done. Full marks to The Tower and Smokestack for making this experience possible. Now about that blue plaque...)
Lance.

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Other Side of Roly Veitch

As well as being the consumate jazz guitarist and coolest of cool vocalists, Roly also has a deep-rooted interest in the music and folklore of his native Tyneside. In the concert mentioned below he displays those roots in a new light giving the songs a complete makeover - updated harmonies, intimate, natural vocal style, some jazz influence. The Blaydon Aces (Roly and Jim Birkett) This concert will feature some well known ’Geordie’ tunes and some lesser known but lovely songs. The music of the Tyne is woven into the stones of Gateshead Heritage@St Mary’s and tonights concert is a must for all lovers of traditional Tyneside songs!! Where: Gateshead Heritage @ St Mary`s (The church next to The Sage) When:19:30 Thu Jul 16, 2009 Tickets: £3 from Central Library 0191 433 8420 - or on the door.
Sounds good.
Lance.

Angela's Alley

Just a reminder of the controversial Angela's jazz credentials with a number that would be an apt soundtrack for this site. Lance.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Bob Caswell/Paul Gamblin /Jeremy McMurray Trio - Blaydon Jazz Club

Bob Caswell (vcl), Paul Gamblin (gtr), Jeremy McMurray (pno), Mick Shoulder (bs), Bill Shield (dms).
Ruth Lambert and Paul Gamblin were the attraction at Blaydon tonight. Unfortunately Ruth couldn't make it so that fine old trouper, Bob Caswell stepped into the breach at the last minute.
Bob has an easy laid back Sinatra style that was heard to advantage on "Pennies From Heaven", "Moonlight in Vermont", "Witchcraft", "There Will Never Be Another You", "Here's That Rainy Day", "Days of Wine and Roses" etc. The latter number had some mild scatting that even Angela could live with but, in the main, Bob's jazz credentials lie in his phrasing and re-shaping of the melody; things he does very well.
Paul Gamblin fitted in with the trio - both comping and soloing. "Satin Doll", "How High The Moon", "I've Got You Under My Skin", just some of the instrumentals, were all given good workouts.
On piano, Jeremy McMurray had an inspiring night playing as close to the top of his game as he's ever likely to get.
Mick Shoulder too had his moments whilst Bill Shield kept it all together with metronomic precision.
Somewhere along the way I won a bottle of wine in the raffle!
Roly has organised some grand events for the rest of the year so please show your support on this, the club's 25th year.
Lance
Photo courtesy of Eddie Carson.

River City Jazzmen @ Ashington Jazz Club.

Ray Harley (tpt), Gordon Solomon (tmb), Jim McBriarty (clt/alt), Keith Stephen (gtr/bjo), Bill Brooks (bs), Fred Thompson (dms).
We had a smashing night at the Elephant. (A shelf behind the bar collapsed during a number in the second half.) The band kept going while our regular barman Rubin was in a right plight. We have a jazz convert in Rubin - he chats to the younger bands and sometimes buys them a drink. Everyone agreed that the line up last night was perfect. Starting out with more traditional numbers on banjo and clarinet the audience soon go into the swing of things. These were soon replaced by alto and guitar and the band played a balanced programme of classic and mainstream. Ray Harley was faultless in his performance reaching all those high notes. Jim McBriarty did one solo number and Caroline Irwin sang two numbers, one with the band and one with just the rhythm section. Important for all you bloggers out there. Do not miss a rare treat. Ray Harley is with the River Citie Jazzmen at Gateshead Fell (Friday), Mouth of the Tyne (Saturday afternoon) or Whitley Bay Festival (Saturday night).
John Taylor.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Take It To The Bridge - Chilli Arms.

Dave Weisser (tpt/vcl), Darren Grainger (ten), Barry Ashcroft (pno), Jim Crinson (bs), Eric Stutt (dms). + Solly Bashiri (dms), Harley Johnson (pno), Lance Liddle (ten).
A routine day at the office for Take it to The Bridge in the first set. "Love For Sale" having a good vocal from Dave as well as an inventive trumpet solo. Darren, as ever blew impressively with Jim, Eric and Barry a formidable rhythm section in support. The set closed with "Airegin".
The sitters-in sat-in after the break with a young lad, Harley Johnson, playing some brilliant piano. Solly Bashiri took over on drums and drove the frontline forcefully forward.
Oh yes, I almost forgot (liar!) Lance Liddle, a.k.a. Me, had a blow on the last three numbers. Lance, blowing with a band again for the first time in 25 years displayed a degree of nervousness yet his solo on "Blues For Duane" brought the crowd to its feet. Fortunately, Allan had had the foresight to lock the door so they couldn't escape although some tried to make their exit, through the window. In fairness it has to be said that they applauded loudly albeit slowly. If Jo Jones had been on drums he'd have thrown his cymbal across the floor (as in the Charlie Parker legend).
"Senor Blues" and "Stolen Moments" were better.
Nevertheless, it was a personal milestone!
Lance.

Thad Jones-Mel Lewis on YouTube

Thank you Sebastian Scotney of Londonjazz for drawing attention to this super YouTube vid of the Jones-Lewis band playing Jerome Richardson's "Groove Merchant". This is about as good as it gets big band-wise.
Lance.

Mouth of the Tyne Festival

As well as the Durham Brass Festival and the Whitley Bay Jazz Festival there is also the Mouth of the Tyne Festival taking place. The latter features several bands from the Whitley Bay Festival. Programme: Saturday - Tynemouth. "The Jazz Stage" 12noon -13:45 Chicago Stompers (Italy). 14:00 - 15:45 River City Jazzmen (Newcastle). 16:00 - 17:45 Rae Brothers New Orleans Jazz band. Sunday - Tynemouth. "The Jazz Stage" 12noon -13:45 Hot Five Jazzmakers (Canada)Towers. 14:00 - 15:45 Yerba Buena Jazz Band (Switzerland). 16:00 - 17:45 Red Hot Reedwarmers (France). Front St. 15:30-16:15 Soznak. 16:15-17:00 Byren Wallen doing a walkabout w. El AutenticoTambaraza Zacatecano. At South Shields, Soznak and Wallen play at various times. Check out website for exact times, locations and more detailed information on the above bands. Lance.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Lennie Niehaus

I related earlier how, on my recent visit to "The Spice of Life," the doorman kept plying me with cassettes. Well one of them - Lennie Niehaus's "The Quintets" is an absolute gem.
Initially released in the early '50s on a series of 10" vinyl (and now accessible on Spotify) I recall, years ago, my sax teacher, Jackie Laing, loaning me one of them. Appropriatly enough, one of the first tracks was "I Remember You" and it is as good a version as you'll find anywhere.
Mention west coast alto players and, inevitably, Art Pepper, Bud Shank and Lee Konitz, spring to mind. However, Lennie was up there swinging with them. The effortless flow of ideas and the cool dry sound came over as unflawed and pure as water from a mountain stream.
It was no coincidence that Clint Eastwood used Lennie for many movie scores including "Bird" the Charlie Parker biopic.
Like his peers mentioned above, Lennie served time with the Kenton Band.
He is now 80, reportedly still playing and composing, and who knows but that there is not more to come from this talented musician?
Lance.

Frank Reeve - Poetry and Jazz: Morden Tower Friday 10 July

This sounds interesting: "As a young man Frank Reeve drove combine-harvesters in the Midwest wheat fields and worked as a longshoreman on the Hudson River docks. In the 1960s he worked in Moscow and translated for Robert Frost when he met Nikita Khrushchev. On his first visit to Tyneside, he will be reading from his new book The Blue Cat Walks the Earth, backed by jazz duo John Lake and Phil Paton. The Blue Cat is a cross between Top Cat, Puss in Boots, The Cat in a Hat and Schrödinger’s Cat. He’s a trickster, a prankster, an illusionist and an illusion. Of course, he’s telling the truth. And of course, you don't have to believe him. Nine lives out of ten, the truth is unbelievable." Start: 8.00pm Entry: £2.00 Remember to bring your own booze.
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Publicity blurb for Jazz/Poetry gig on Friday. I might mosey along.
Lance.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Vieux Carré Jazzmen @ The Corner House

Peter Wright (tpt/vcl), Barry Soulsby (clt/vcl), Laurence McBriarty (tmb), Brian Bennett (bjo/vcl), Brian Sibbald (bs), Fred Thompson (dms). Tonight's gig was in the bar, the Function Room being in use for, presumably, a function. Soundwise it was much better. The ensembles came across as a band rather than six individuals and it was a good sound.
A fairly predictable couple of sets with "Embraceable You" worthy of special mention. It was a vocal for Fred with an outstanding Braff-like solo from Peter Wright. "Embraceable You" accompanied by banjo brings to mind Bill Harper (or was it Roly?) commenting a while back about the incompatibility of "Laura" with the banjo. This was in the same league and yet it worked.
Other highlights included; a foot tapping "At The Jazz Band Ball" and "Willie The Weeper". Barry Soulsby singing "Exactly Like You" and "The Yes Yes In Your Eyes". "Makin' Whoopee" had good solos and, in truth, if you closed your eyes, you could have been anywhere from Storyville in 1919 to Cooks Ferry Inn circa 1950.
Lance.

Whitley Bay Jazz Festival Update

Hi there: just a reminder that the Festival runs this weekend from Friday to Sunday inclusive at the Village Hotel, Cobalt Park, NE27 0BY. Now 30 bands with 151 musicians from ten different countries (UK, USA, Australia, Canada, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Italy, Germany and Holland) Full details on the website, www.whitleybayjazzfest.org Tickets are available on the door - prices start at just £17 for a half-day, and under-16's go free. Music runs from 12 noon to midnight, followed by late-night jam-sessions in hotel bar. Don't miss this classic jazz extravaganza. And by the way - less than 50 tickets left for the Thursday 9th "Young Louis" concert at The Sage, with an all-star eight-piece featuring Bent Persson, Matthias Seuffert and Martin Litton: book online at www.thesagegateshead.org
Mike Durham

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Tom - Mix Rides Again

Tom-Mix - 3 to 1 sets hard as Akenside bakes On the Outside sweats on the inside - Olie Brice bowed bass solo overheard in deep conversation with kittiwake heaven - Tony Marsh - named after Tom's wonder horse - from dressage to full gallop - flushing birds from cover - wing beats flutter - escape the snare - settle in the reeds - pots of them marinading in the gloop but not for the soup says Mark Hanslip who choses carefully - this one's Konitz leaving town on a Coltrane - skipping the light fantastic by Rollins Toc-H Lamp - yet no dimness here - when we close our eyes we hear. Go on, go on, go on, go on..........
George M.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Partying @ The Piper. Maureen Hall & Rendezvous Jazz

Maureen Hall (vcl), Barry Soulsby (clt/vcl), Iain McCaulay (tmb/tpt/vcl), Mac Smith (pno), John Robinson (bs), George Davidson (dms/vcl) + Liz Bacon (clt), Doris Fenn (bjo), Ian Wynn (pno).
This was a special gig to celebrate ten years of Rendezvous Jazz at the Piper Pub in Cullercoats and the standing room only crowd gave Maureen and the gang the support they deserve.
The lady was, as always, in good voice on numbers such as "Deed I Do", "Am I Blue" and a host of other gems. In fact it was quite a ladies night. Not only did they outnumber the men in the audience but, as well as Maureen, sitting in were Doris Fenn on banjo and Liz Bacon playing some nice clarinet.
Drummer George Davidson sang "Way Down Yonder in New Orleans", Iain sang "See See Rider" and, as he did last night, also played trumpet.
In the second set, Ian Wynn, sitting in for Mac Smith, played some fingerbusting stuff on piano whilst John Robinson was solid on bass.
My only gripe is that the food ran out!
Lance.

Tom-Mix @ Side Café, Newcastle.

Mark Hanslip (reeds), Olie Brice (double bass), Tony Marsh (drums). Last night, well before sundown, Tom-Mix rode into town on a steaming summer's evening to be greeted by an audience more the size of a posse than a division of the US cavalry. Mark Hanslip, a youthful, paid-up member of the LOOP Collective, played some well-structured and at times lyrical tenor saxophone; any reference to Sonny Rollins should not be dismissed. Bassist Olie Brice in tandem with free jazz percussion veteran Tony Marsh powered the unit with no little enthusiasm. The two-set performance featured all three musicians with little in the way of a time-out being taken by one or other. Marsh, a master of his craft, encouraged a democratic approach with the two young gunslingers being anything but hired-hands. The gig was another in Jazz North East's 'On the Outside' programme. It was filmed and can be viewed on line shortly (poss. Sunday) at www.musicfilmbroth.com . The next installment of On the Outside is at the Star and Shadow Cinema on 27th September. Gannets, a quintet of UK improvisers, share the bill with a screening of Shirley Clarke's film 'Ornette: Made in America'. Russell

NEWS FLASH! River City Jazzmen end Jesmond residency.

I am informed by an impeccable source that the River City Jazzmen, longtime Tuesday night residents at Jesmond's Royal British Legion Club, have ended their association with the club.
Trombone playing leader Gordon Solomon announced at the end of this week's session that they would not be returning.
The move came as a surprise as the Legion was a popular venue and the RJC drew a decent following.
No further information is available at present.
Lance.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Mama Mia & Broadway Melody - Jazz @ The Fell

Mia Webb (vcl), Iain McCaulay (tmb/tpt/vcl), Derek Fleck (clt/ten), Brian Chester (pno), John Hallam (bs), Ollie Rillands (dms).
This week has been, in my life, a singer's week culminating tonight with Mia Webb strutting her stuff with Broadway Melody. No airs and graces just straight down the middle songs from the 'Jazz Age' - give or take a few years.
"Mean To Me", "Ain't Misbehavin", "Goody Goody", "Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" and a song new to me - "Eeny, Meeny, Miny Mo", a splendid Johnny Mercer/Matty Malneck tune from 1935, to mention but a few.
Mia knows how to carry a tune and she does it with panache - not a scatted syllable in earshot!"
Broadway Melody lived up to their name with tunes, many of which may well have emanated from the 'Great White Way,' mixed in with jazzers such as "C Jam Blues" and "Royal Garden Blues".
During "The Saints" the ladies unfurled their brollies and provided a colourful spectacle.
As well as his usual 'on the money' trombone playing Iain also blew trumpet on the "Saints."
Very pleasant evening.
Lance.

York Update

Anna Lacy editor of the York Jazz Scene sent me a Facebook invitation to some forthcoming gigs in her neck of the woods. Although I'm unlikely to get to them myself others may be interested. AL MORRISON @ THE BLACK SWAN Black Swan Inn 15 July at 20:45 BEN MALLINDER @ THE BLACK SWAN Black Swan Inn 29 July at 20:45 5 PIECES OF SILVER @ THE BLACK... Black Swan Inn 12 August at 20:45 IAIN DIXON @ THE BLACK SWAN Black Swan Inn 26 August at 20:45 ALAN BARNES @ BLACK SWAN INN! Black Swan Inn 26 September at 20:45. Lance.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Cookin' @ The Chilli w. Take It To The Bridge

Dave Weisser (trumpet & vocals), Darren Grainger (tenor), Stu Collingwood (piano), Barry Ashcroft (electric bass), Eric Stutt (drums) + Solly Bashiri (drums), David Carnegie (piano & drums). Soaring temperatures, a faulty, rattling air-conditioning unit (switched off just before the first number) and some fiesty exchanges both musically and verbally (Dave & Barry had a ''contretemps'' as the opener was being counted in!) made for a hot night at the Chilli. ''Tune Up'' got things groovin', solos all round with pianist Collingwood excelling.
Our indefatigable bandleader Dave ''The Rave'' Weisser was on top form vocally (as always) and played great trumpet all night. Dave sang ''Like Someone in Love'' then delivered the words to ''Night in Tunisia'' as Collingwood played some serious piano in trio format with Ashcroft and Stutt cutting it and Darren Grainger adding some full, fat tenor to the mix. ''Killer Joe'' (a great tune, anytime, anywhere) drew the first set to a close. The raffle done (I didn't win, John did. He had to go early, I collected the prize on his behalf-it is in safe keeping 'til next time), the second set picked up from where we left off with a groovin' ''Mercy Mercy Mercy'', Grainger was funkin', Weisser scattin', both kicked along by sitter-in Solly Bashiri.
Second sitter-in this week was David Carnegie, first on piano then drums. David suggested ''blues in F'',so it was Freddie Hubbard's ''Blues for Duane''. Full marks to Barry Ashcroft, he took on the bass guitar duties with consummate ease and his partner in rhythm Eric Stutt didn't miss a beat. A really good night cookin' at the Chilli. Russell.
PS: John Pope confirmed as new bass player with Alan Glen Trio.

Love is like a Double Bass

Hil has informed me that she is pleased to announce the news that her daughter Zoe (Gilby) has become engaged to local bass supremo Andy Champion. May their happiness be undiminished (even augmented!) Lance.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Nina Ferro @ The Spice of Life

Nina Ferro (vcl), Grant Windsor (pno), Simon Little (bs), Martyn Kaine (dms).
Difficult one to pigeonhole - a mix of jazz, soul and good old rock 'n roll. Nina has a powerful voice that brought to mind Gladys Knight - the Queen of the Pips - as she strode through a selection of originals and vintage poppers (She opened with the Everly Brothers "All I Do Is Dream".) Her own "Tossing and Turning" was most certainly a rocker with Grant Windsor in Jerry Lee rather than John Lewis mode. Nevertheless whatever we call it it was crowd pleasing stuff.
Earlier the compere(ss) whose name I missed sang a more jazz orientated mini set. "Our Day Will Come", "Nearness of You" and "Teach Me Tonight".
There was an open mic set to come but by this time the day's oppressive heat had got to me so I called it an early night.
Prior to the gig, the chap on the door, after some banter, said to me "Newcastle? West Jesmond? Hebburn?"
I said how did you work that out?"
He replied "I lived in Edinburgh!"
Later he came over and gave me some tapes (Joe Harriott, Ronnie Ross w. MJQ live. Lennie Niehaus, Stan Getz.)
I thanked him and later he gave me a VHS of Supersax.
I thanked him again.
Next came a back issue of the Canadian Jazz magazine "Coda".
More thanks. I said, "I don't even know your name."
He replied, "I haven't got one!"
Nothing wrong with southern hospitality!
Lance.
Note for Angela - not a single bar of scatting!

"Tina May @ The Green Man, London" - as seen and heard by Angela.

It was five o’clock. I’d had a hard day at the office, albeit air-conditioned. I walked out into blistering heat only to find I had a flat tyre. I called the RAC. I am a woman of a certain age after all and my days of changing my own tyres are now over.
The delay would have been fine save that I was some 11 miles from home and still had to eat, change and get to The Green Man, (6 miles) for 7.45pm, where I had an evening of Tina May ahead of me in the company of your favourite blogger, Lance.
I just realised that these distances seem like nothing, but I’m talking London traffic here and on a good day that 11 miles (Stanmore to Crouch End) takes an hour and that 6 miles (Crouch End to Central London) takes three quarters of an hour. Then I had to find parking, walk to venue – living in London is a headache at the best of times.
The RAC had quoted me a good hour to hour and a half and I had to sit in the car, twiddling my thumbs while I waited for him to arrive and change my tyre.
The band were half way through Daahaud when I finally arrived. It sounded perfect. Tina did a weeny bit of scat and I have to say that at that early stage it fitted just right. I agree with Lance – You go to my head, whilst a lovely song (I’m thinking I might sing it myself) didn’t work as a fast samba. I did like Lucky to be Me. What a great song! Bit of scat, not much, great. Not so as the evening wore on. The scat to lyric ratio increased exponentially. As you will have guessed by now I’m not a great scat lover. Not for nothing is it the term we give to animal faeces.
Tina’s French Autumn Leaves was lovely, and her choice of songs well balanced but oh that scat! I really don’t know that many musicians who actually like singers scatting so why has it become de rigueur amongst British female singers? There comes a point in a gig when it just starts to get embarrassing for the instrumentalists.
Tina’s co-conspirator in this scat attack was the NYJO’s Sarah Hughes, who chose to sing Route 66 and A Train. They were admirably sung, save for that damned scat again! Sarah’s voice was not as rounded as Tina’s but then she was a sweet young thing with a life ahead of her and plenty of time to develop as a singer. Tina May, on the other hand, had perfect intonation, good delivery, a little bit of soul and used her large range to good effect. I was pleasantly surprised at just how good she was – save for you know what.
Just to fill in a couple of details – bass player was Arne Somogyi, whose myspace site http://www.myspace.com/arniesomogyi is more interesting that his playing was last night. At one point he held his head in his hands and rubbed his eyes hard. I think he was tired. It showed. The drummer was Stephen Keogh, who extremely good, if a little overeager. Robin Aspland I’ve seen several times. Apart from gigging with his trio he seems to specialise in accompanying British female jazz singers – Anita Wardell being one of them (another demon scatter!). I favour the more boppish type of playing rather than the free form ‘let’s try out a bunch of notes that don’t bear any relationship to the tune’ but then I guess that’s jazz!
It was lovely to meet Lance – he gave me a copy of his book of stories: Something Cool, and we had a nice long chat about this and that – and of course jazz. I can’t believe how fast he blogged about it! Good on you Lance!
(I felt this was too good a piece to get lost among the comments - Lance)

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Bebop Spoken Here -- Here, being the north-east of England -- centred in the blues heartland of Newcastle and reaching down to the Tees Delta and looking upwards to the Land of the Kilt.
Not a very original title, I know; not even an accurate one as my taste, whilst centred around the music of Bird and Diz, extends in many directions and I listen to everything from King Oliver to Chick Corea and beyond. Not forgetting the Great American Songbook the contents of which has provided the inspiration for much great jazz and quality popular singing for round about a century.
The idea of this blog is for you to share your thoughts and pass on your comments on discs, gigs, jazz - music in general. If you've been to a gig/concert or heard a CD that knocked you sideways please share your views with us. Tell us about your favourites, your memories, your dislikes.
Lance (Who wishes it to be known that he is not responsible for postings other than his own and that he's not always responsible for them.)
PS:I don't care what your political views are - you can love or hate Cameron, Clegg, Milliband, Farage, Genghis Khan or Julius Caesar - just don't air them here!
Contact: lanceliddle@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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